So, continuing from Soap.
We left our cricket team with the squad picked for Sri Lanka and the captain (95) fully in charge. Let’s look back, and look forward.
Wind back to the tour from hell. The ECB don’t leak but everyone knows Pietersen is under pressure.
The ECB don’t leak but one scribe in particular is well in with the Peter Moores for new Coach vibe. Prescient.
The ECB don’t leak but there are 50 misdemeanours, there’s a booked flight home. there’s a row after a team meeting, there’s a row in the bar at the SCG, there’s a row between Gooch and Cook over a KP shot, there’s a row about training, there’s a row about breaching team curfews. Yes, no leaks.
The press is not in the ECB’s pocket, but they all fall in to line, pretty much, with the decision to sack the top run scorer. The ECB is not calling the shots, but the press fall in behind the appointment of Aplomb Downton. The ECB allow Giles Clarke out in public and the press don’t tear him to shreds. The press also aren’t in the ECB ‘s pocket but subsuquently equate those pissed off with “outside cricket” with extreme factions.
The press are not in the ECB’s pockets, but pounce on each negative leak on Pietersen. The press are not in the ECB’s pockets but somehow think breaching the confidentiality agreement is something to praise, and berate KP for enforcing it when we all know if the converse applied how that would have been spun. The press largely swept Sri Lanka under the carpet, follow the ECB/England line on Mankading when the Twitterati thought they were stupid to do so, and gave any number of soft toss interviews house room.
Now, back to the cricket. We left our faithful team going off to Sri Lanka, but just before that…
Someone, who none of us can remember this side of Mr Stanford, called David Collier resigned. No-one noticed.
A book was released and it was very angry. Some said it burned bridges. Many said they didn’t recognise what was said. Many journalists ignored many salient points on Flower’s regime instead focusing on bullying stuff. Meanwhile, while the ECB never leaks, a dossier, written by someone without a grasp of perspective or the ability to spell the names correctly, is leaked. Much hilarity ensued.
England play ODIs in Sri Lanka. England lose most of them. Alastair Cook does not score many runs.
In the 6th of these ODIs, Peter “No” Moores, mentions that the captaincy position will be reviewed. Paul Downton, let out from the broom cupboard at Lord’s, conducts a range of interviews, many of which your scribe listened to while searching London for Paddington statues. And there was profuse swearing.
Downton says that he will be surprised if anyone else will be the captain come the World Cup. Indeed to show they really, really, really, really meant it, they put (c) after his name on the provisional squad list.
England lose the seventh match, Cook says he could justifiably be sacked, so the ECB did it. And there was much laughter at this incompetent rabble. They leaked it (of course) and then couldn’t do much because the new captain was asleep and not answering his phone!
New Year and Ian Bell makes a massive 180+ score in a popgun warm-up game and thepoetseye experience paroxysms of delight. This is claimed as an English record, which is pure nonsense.
The first ODI in the tri-series sees England start badly. Morgan scores 100. We are stuffed. Thankfully we beat India. Then lose to Australia when we blow a winning position. Then beat India. Then get annihilated in the Final. Paul Downton believes we are a team to be reckoned with.
So to the World Cup. The replacement for Cook, Ballance (upside), is injured and plays no part in tri-series. Taylor, a promising start at 3, is seemingly locked in. Ballance (upside) with no play comes into World Cup team at 3. Taylor at 6. We get hammered in the opening game, where our number 6, who usually bats at 3, runs out of partners. Our number 3, who has not played, fails, to no-one’s surprise. We look at the data.
In game two we bat against New Zealand and get skittled. Our number 3 scores no runs. Ballance (upside) has not been a success. New Zealand win before the lights come on. The data suggests that we did not score enough runs nor take enough wickets.
In game three we bat against Scotland and post just above 300, believing this to be the new 250 and against Scotland it is. There is much rejoicing. England will now win their last three games, and then it will take just three games to win the Cup.
England play Sri Lanka and make a 300+ score having pottered around in the middle overs. There is much rejoicing at this formidable total. Then the Sri Lankans, who were to be brushed aside, win with the loss of just one wicket. And there was much gnashing of teeth.
England play Bangladesh. Whipping Boys. No problem. Bangladesh post 275, which, as we all know, is the new 200. England don’t make them. Downton comes out of broom cupboard. Moores looks at data. Press start to turn on morons. Everyone inside cricket appears shocked. How could this be?
Downton says it’s not his fault. The team was one to be reckoned with, but it was inexperienced. The ECB cleared the decks for the World Cup, playing ODIs for six months, but then says there is not the right mentality. Despite the ECB pioneering T20 leagues, they didn’t believe, despite watching every other side in the world play, that T20 had that much influence on 50 overs cricket. The people were incredulous.
Peter Moores looked at the data and said it wasn’t good enough.
England beat Afghanistan in perhaps the most boring ODI in history. The world moves on without the ECB’s team to be reckoned with.
Behind the scenes there is a new Chairman from the parish of Yorkshire. The old chairman, with all the popularity of a remake of Mind Your Language, is not fired. No sir. We don’t fire out of touch, arrogant, nincompoops. We promote them to sinecures overseas. He’s our man at the ICC.
Despite fluffing our best chance to win a World Cup since the last one, Peter Moores is desperate to continue. And there was much rejoicing. “Not his fault” says a couple of people, including his “mate” on Twitter (who is rumoured to be his agent).
Downton has no intention of resigning, claiming he has lots of work to do. The people rejoice. You don’t need to do that, they say.
Meanwhile, in the parish outside ECB England, KP shows some form in the Big Bash. The press seem to do all they can to besmirch the quality of it. The ECB express that they are pleased for Kevin (in much the same way as they would be pleased if their 15 year old daughter came home pregnant).
Given England’s magnificent display in Australia and New Zealand, the new Chairman mutters out loud that Kevin might get back into the team if he scored some runs in county cricket.
Within 8 hours, the ECB, presumably not Graves, state that nothing has changed. Nothing from “no, never, over my dead body, the book confirmed it, no, not a chance, not a chance in hell”. There is great mystery.
And then Pietersen makes a statement and says he will give up £200k (plus sponsorships and endorsements) from the IPL to play for a county. And there is much confusion.
Then there is some toing and froing, and toing and froing. The Graves says he has spoken to Pietersen, and then we are told it is a courtesy call, to someone shown no courtesy since January 2014. Then the Chairman of Selectors, empty suit version, says “not in our plans, not in our plans, not in our plans” in between copious mentions of Gary Ballance.
Alastair “few runs” Cook pipes up and says “they missed me”. No-one takes him seriously. He remains our captain. There is much rejoicing.
Downton is called into a meeting with Harrison Tom, and we await the outcome. Will he be hired or will he be fired? Will KP be admitted or dismissed? Will James Whitaker ever make sense? Has Giles Clarke got a new linen suit? What does Harrison Tom look like? Is this a difficult winter or a terrific young team learning all the time? What does the data say? Will the press emerge from the ECB’s pocket? Who is pulling the strings at the dastardly Telegraph? Where has Selvey’s perspective gone? Who knows how Pam will go if KP ever gets in? Does anyone still go on KICCA? Would Doug Ibbotson have approved of this guesswork?
All this and more, will be explained….. in our dreams.